Editor's Note: The Blues have quite a few UFAs whose futures need close examination. This is an ongoing pro/con debate on the fates of each of them.
Steady, but unspectacular.
Reliable in the faceoff circle but far from flashy.
Defensively responsible but not a shut-down guy.
Probably an all-around nice guy.
What kind of jerk would write an article encouraging us to vote such a quiet, utilitarian guy off of Blues Island?
This guy, right here.
As your resident contrarian, I felt compelled to point out the reasons that Goc doesn’t need to be in the lineup for the Note next year.
Let’s put things in perspective here. Goc was acquired to center our 4th line and to offer a calming presence with more responsible position play. He served alongside Ryan Reaves and Steve Ott for most of his tenure with the Blues, and if he is retained will likely return to that exact spot.
Since Ott and Reaves are under contract, let’s assume for the sake of argument that they will both be back in those same spots next year as well. So Goc is ‘competing’ for a 4th line center spot. But, since Ott is a natural center, another scenario would be someone replacing Goc and moving to wing, with Ott back in the middle. Goc is basically up against both of those scenarios. The question is: what is the best for the Blues?
First we need to look at the role of the 4th line and decide the nature of the ideal 4th line player. Fourth lines generally have three different possible purposes. The first and most obvious is the traditional ‘bang’ line, out there to generate energy and take the body.
The second is the ‘checking’ line in the defensive sense that gets sent out to shut down a higher line and make life difficult in the offensive zone.
The third is the ‘entry level’ line of up-and-coming guys who are probably destine for higher line but are earning their striped against lower-quality competition.
Goc, at 6’1" and almost 200 pounds has decent size to be a bang/energy player, but he has never been the guy delivering smashing hits was specifically acquired for his more conservative style.
He is a 50% Corsi guy but he lacks the speed to be shutting down skilled players with any sort of regularity.
And at 31, he is basically a senior citizen in the NHL so not only is he not an up-and-comer, but he has already long since plateaued.
Since many 4th lines incorporate multiple aspects of the above categories, you could make an argument that jack-of-all-4th-line-trades Goc is a great fit and that would be a reasonably solid argument.
So don’t make it. I don’t really have much counter for it.
Except to say that we need a 4th line that is doing more for us.
Goc made $1.2 million last year and might not be willing to take a pay cut.
We could save that money and invest the saved money in Vladimir Tarasenko and the saved ice in one of our younger upstarts.
Or, we could get a defensive guy with a bit more speed or go back to the energy/banging option (Hitch said this team is going to be ‘reckless’ next year) and land a guy who better meets those needs, and we could probably do either for less than $1.2 mil.
As I have argued with previous players, Goc being on the team isn’t necessary bad for the Blues, but the scenario where Goc is the best option sure isn’t the best team scenario.
If we are going to get "reckless" we Goc to do better than this guy.
(End terrible pun)